Seeing that Sparky felt a little trepidation about cutting up meat, I read him a legend of why Cherokee hunters thank the animals they must kill; he told me he felt "mean" cutting up a chicken. We talked about it a little more, and finally I asked if he thought it would be wasteful not to eat the chicken now that it's been slaughtered. He agreed. The teachable moments of life often wind up in the kitchen.
For this project, we used Cornish hens, as their bones are soft and easy to break when necessary. The first hen, we spatchcocked to be cooked "under a brick." We got out our tools for the job: a stout pair of kitchen shears and a sharp, heavy knife. Spatchcocking is simple—you cut through the ribs on either side of the backbone (on either side of the “pope’s nose” or little tail, which Sparky used as a convenient handle) and then tuck the legs and wings flat. Then you score the breastbone with a knife, and crack it with the palm of your hand so the breast lies flat.
We repeated the process at the large joint of the wing. After these were removed, it was a simple matter to turn over the remaining piece and disjoint the thigh from the breast; when that joint is separated, there’s just a small strip of skin and ribs to cut through, and your half-chicken is now chicken parts: thigh, backbone, breast, leg and wing.